According to the American Institute of Stress, numerous studies show that job stress is far and away the major source of stress for American adults and that it has escalated progressively over the past few decades.((The American Institute of Stress: Workplace Stress))
Blueprints, step-by-step guides, and road maps are taking over Pinterest and every social media platform regarding this new way of living. However, what about everyone who is still living and dealing with the current stress and worries at work?
How can we healthfully deal with our 9-5 jobs and leave the office feeling refreshed and energized after we put in our 8 hours? I am here to tell you that it is possible and relatively easy to not only cope with stress at work but make a difference and fulfill your passions anywhere you work!
Here are a few really simple ways for coping with stress at work and STOP worrying.
1. Identify and Take Back Control of Your Stress
Sometimes, we bulk our stress and worry into a broad category of “I HATE MY JOB” when in all reality, there are only a handful of things that are causing us grief.
Get specific – What are your top 3 worries & stressors at work?
Get clear and investigate why these are causing so much angst.
For instance, it is probably not all administration and/or your boss’s fault that you are stressed out, worried, and dreading work (don’t give them too much credit). When we put all of our blame on someone or something out of our control, then we have no power to change it (no power = STRESS)!
The best way to gain power over a stressful situation is to reverse the complaint, worry, or problem to something that YOU can change.
Does that mean that you blame yourself when it’s not your fault? Absolutely not!
But you MUST put yourself in the driver’s seat so that you can change the stressful situation.
Once you are clear on what is causing your heart palpitation’s and night sweats (I have had them), then you control the situation by taking any complaint or blame and turn it into a SOLUTION.
Your boss is unfair and never gives you the day off when you request it? (Total jerk move, by the way!)
How are you currently requesting off? If you are requesting off electronically, could you make the request personal and far in advance so that end result is what you desire?
Complaining that your boss is a jerk will make you feel better in the moment but, it isn’t going to give you the solution that you really want. And by complaining, you are giving up ALL control.
When we feel in control of what we want, the majority of our stress is released. It is when we feel out of control that we worry!
2. An Attitude of Gratitude
Gratitude is the freeway to happiness and contentment. There is no room for worry, stress, or negativity when we are in a thankful mindset.
When you begin to feel stressed at work, when the workload keeps piling up and it seems like nothing will ever get done… Take a minute to breathe deeply, close your eyes, and whisper thank you to the first thing that pops into your mind.
Thank you for today, thank you for the security this job provides, thank you for the breakroom coffee, thank you for anything you can think of!
The combination of a quiet moment and an attitude of gratitude can turn your whole day around and it is the perfect cocktail for comfort and relaxation!
3. Identify Your Weaknesses
We all have them and most of us avoid them. But it is so important to come to terms on what we can change and improve.
When we are able to improve our downfalls, then we can only progress forward.
Never accept your weaknesses as a part of your DNA and/or character. Weaknesses are only temporary if we work to improve them.
When we accept them, then they become ingrained in us and will forever hold us down. Don’t let that happen!
Get comfortable with failures and embrace your weaknesses. Never be afraid of asking powerful questions because the more that you know the more places you’ll go! (Love you, Dr. Seuss!)
Identify the areas at work that could use some improvement and then brush up in this area. Find ways to grow and learn!
New research from LinkedIn finds that people who genuinely enjoy their jobs have one thing in common:((Linkedin: Stress at Work Report: Who is Feeling It the Most and How to Combat It))
“They make time to learn on the job. The LinkedIn research surveyed about 2,000 professionals. They found that employees who spend time learning at work are 47% less likely to be stressed”
Take a professional development course to become an expert in your area of weakness. Ask questions to someone in the office with more expertise in this particular area (they will most likely be happy to help). This will help to build your confidence and confidence kicks stress’s butt every time!
As a takeaway, never shy away or hide from your weaknesses. Instead, embrace them to gain confidence and leave worry in the dust!
4. Identify Your Strengths
Up next, ask yourself: What are my top 10 strengths?
Don’t be modest and name them all. I actually encourage you to name your top 50 strengths because I know that we all have them.
Circle the strengths that are unique to you and use this edge at work to amaze people.
Don’t just fit in at work – stand out! Better yet, pick a strength that is unique and that you are passionate about and you will leave work feeling refreshed!
By expanding your skill set, in both your strong and weak areas, creates intelligence and confidence. Both are great for combating stress and worry!
5. Prioritize and Revitalize
What is a necessity this week? Deadlines, meetings, paperwork?
Prioritize by when it needs to be done and, next to the task write down an estimated time of how long it will take to complete.
Calculate the total of time it will take you to accomplish these necessities and, then carve out 10% of your day to REVITALIZE. No one can work all day and give it their all without a reset.
What is it that gets you into the zone, what energizes you? Add restoration breaks in your day.
For me, lunch with my coworkers doesn’t restore me in the least bit. Often times, the conversations that go on at work bring me down in the dumps and drain my energy.
On my restoration breaks, I listen to a motivational video, turn out the lights, journal, walk, go outside and plan my future, make lists of how I am going to accomplish my next goal.
I can’t stress enough how important these are to the soul. Add SOUL RESTORATION into your schedule!!
Your boss/employer will appreciate all of the extra energy you have when you come back from this break.
6. To Do ListSSS (Yes, 3 S’s for 3 Lists!)
This is nice because it piggybacks off of your priority list. What absolutely needs to get done today and how long will the task take?
When you arrive at work and you are comfortable in your chair, grab 3 pieces of paper, a pen, and a sharpie. Take a deep breath, this is your time to organize all of your thoughts and to-dos.
Write down what needs done today, in the order you plan to accomplish it. Most of the time, I even give myself a window of time to complete.
After you have finished a task, cross it out. I love to take a big black sharpie and put a big slash through my completed task (this makes me so happy!)
However, by lunch, my paper looks messy and then that makes my mind messy so it causes me stress. Therefore, I do this thing that really helps me to reduce my stress and it organizes my mind.
I make a new list.
After lunch, write another list. Brand new and fresh. Write down everything else that needs accomplished for the rest of your afternoon.
This is your chance to set your afternoon up for organization and success as opposed to a stressful, scattered mess!
If you didn’t accomplish something in the morning – no big deal. You can put that task on your afternoon list or your list for tomorrow.
A list for tomorrow? Yes, your THIRD list!
At the end of the day, create your final list that consists of what needs to be done for the following day. This strategy will help get you focused and organized for the next day and reduce your worry because it’s on paper and out of your mind. This will also help you the following morning to give you an idea of how to structure your day.
Anyway that we can organize our minds and structure our day for efficiency is a sure way of reducing stress and worry in the workplace!
7. Stay Away from the Negative Nancy Squad
Have you ever worked somewhere with negativity?
Have you experienced something similar to this: You begin a new job and the Negative Nancy Zombies come with their Frankenstein arms to greet you.They make sure to tell you who to stay away from, that the cafeteria food is awful, all of the affairs in the office, and how you’ll probably end up working late for the next 100 years of your life. They reassure you, however, if you stick with them that you’ll be just fine…
I am here to tell you that it is BULL-OGNA!
Don’t fall into this trap! Don’t be a part of this soul sucking practice.
The Negative Nancy squad is burned out and they need to take a day off to rejuvenate (maybe even take the month off). The squad would probably benefit from this article about the burn out point at work.
Most of the time, the person they tell you to stay away from is awesome, the food is halfway decent, the affair is actually just two people being friendly, and the squad only has to stay late because they are too busy gossiping.
To make a long story short, if you have a good outlook and positive perception, everything in your work environment will look and feel brighter!
Don’t align yourself with or hang out with those type of people. Don’t gossip or assume anything about anyone until you have experienced it first-hand.
We often make things seem worse (more stressful and worrisome) in our minds. The Negative Nancy squad will only enhance these negative emotions. So, find a few positive friends, go out of your way for a few people at work, and maybe even get to know someone new and your social game at work will be great!
Having positive relationships at work will make you feel happier and more secure in your work environment. Positive relationships are great for your health and mind so embrace developing constructive relationships with your coworkers.
Make the decision that you are going to enjoy yourself at work. Anything can be made exciting with the right attitude and a little creativity.
Find one or two things to look forward to each day and treat yourself every once in awhile. You deserve to enjoy your work, your life, and the people in it.
Remember that if you are above ground, then it’s a good day and something exciting is always just a mindset shift away!